St. Charles is making plans to improve a key gateway into the city: Fifth Street between Boone's Lick Road and First Capitol.
The city received federal Surface Transportation Program funding to create a gateway to the city and make improvements to Fifth Street. The $3.7 million in funds for improvements were awarded by East-West Gateway in 2012. The city is expected to contribute about $960,000 for the project.
For now, plans to build a multi-modal transportation hub at 435 Boone's Lick Drive, which could house a second city visitors center, are being reevaluated.
The city applied for both STP funding and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery 4 Discretionary Grant or TIGER 4 funding for the Fifth Street improvements at the same time. The TIGER grant funding was awarded to Joplin, MO, according to an article in the Suburban Journals.
Now the city is moving forward with a smaller plan to make improvements to Fifth Street which do not include creating a transportation hub.
The road and sidewalks on Fifth Street will be slightly widened, the electric wires will be put underground and the streetscape improved, with new landscaping and trees. Either a pedestrian crosswalk or a traffic signal will also be installed on the road to improve pedestrian access, said City Engineer Kevin Corwin.
A large archway over Fifth Street will mark the road as the main entry to the city.
"It'll be an obvious entryway into where the city's hospital district and the government center and Main Street areas meet," Corwin said. "As well as making it inviting and attractive for redevelopment potential."
Residents will be invited to give feedback for the design plans before they are finalized, Corwin said.
The St. Charles City Council in 2012 approved building and architectural standards for the area surrounding SSM St. Joseph Health Center after hosting a series of meetings with business owners and residents in the area.
"The vision is that it'll be a mixed-used along the corridor to where there is commercial and residential," he said.
Construction on the Fifth Street road improvements is expected to begin in summer 2014.
For now, the multi-modal transportation hub plan is being reevaluated.
Director of Economic Development and Tourism David Leezer said the city is considering the best use for the former Mary Rents property at 435 Boone's Lick. The city purchased the Mary Rents building in April 2012 and demolished it in late 2012.
In December, in improving the current Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau on Main Street, rather than put it toward building something new at 435 Boone's Lick.
Leezer said the tourism department will evaluate all of the options for the property and how different choices would impact the city.
"We're at the beginning stages of figuring out what we will do or won't do," he said.
See related articles on this issue:
- Relocation of Mary Rents Offers Opportunity for City Welcome Center
- City Buys Former Mary Rents Building